Ontario will soon be able to 'turn off' wind power
Published Tuesday, March 5, 2013 10:55AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 5, 2013 5:05PM EST
Ontario will soon be able to say 'no thank you' to wind power when there’s surplus power on the grid.
The Independent Electricity System Operator will implement the new wind dispatch system by year’s end.
Until now, wind power has had almost unrestricted access to the power grid, under rules designed to encourage the development of renewable power in Ontario.
Wind companies had been fighting the new rules, but have relented. They will still get paid for some of their lost output, but not all of it.
Last year, Ontario spent millions of dollars paying other states and provinces to take our excess power, most of it from renewables.
Power from wind turbines is strongest at night, when demand is lowest.
But the contracts between the province and wind companies gave wind power first dibs on the grid, meaning Ontario was paying other jurisdictions to take some of most expensive power, while Ontario was spilling cheaper hydroelectric power at Niagara Falls.
If left unresolved, the IESO suggested surplus power would cost Ontarians $200 million a year.
It’s still going to cost taxpayers something. Wind operators will be compensated for some, but not all, of their lost output.
The Ontario Power Authority outlined a compensation model recently under which wind companies would have to absorb a certain portion of the lost output, but would be paid if the loss output exceeded certain limits.
Nuclear units will also be affected. In recent years, they’ve been asked to “shut down” reactors during times of excess power. Bruce Power has developed ways to “reduce” their output.
They are still paid for their lost output too.